Crime alert: Thieves take a lifetime of nets

It’s one of those little crimes that just makes you sick.

Thieves hit Ward Lemn’s Kaaawa home sometime overnight and made off with a priceless collection of fishing nets, some inherited from his father, that have been lovingly used, tended and repaired through the years.

We were walking home about 7:30 this morning as a police officer made out a report.

Of course, we stopped. Ward, who retired from Kamehameha Schools a few years ago, was close to tears, his voice breaking as he explained what had happened.

The nets were carefully laid out in a well-organized pile alongside the garage of his home. This morning they were gone.

What can you say?

We’ve watched Ward caring for the nets, doing repairs by hand, day after day when the fish are in season. We know how much these mean, the memories they carry for him.

I quickly grabbed a few of the photos that have appeared here in the past.

It’s hard to imagine that sense of loss.

And there can’t be that many people who can use nets of this kind.

Maybe, in that community of fishermen, word will get around quickly and the thieves will be caught. I hope so.

Kaaawa nets


Ward Lemn

Ward Lemn

25 responses to “Crime alert: Thieves take a lifetime of nets

  1. Far more invasive than anyone would think…to hit a mans soul is sad.

    I would think the “coconut” wireless of old which is now the internet of today might be able to find these…like you said Ian…not too many who would want these…should probably also watch out for sales….so sad.

  2. Those lay nets are killing our reefs.

    • Nets no kill reef. Man do.

      Plus those nets are deep sea kine so they must have a boat. Check the harbors and ask around.

      Nets kill reef omg lol

    • Not necessarily.

      There are regulations in place that limit nets to 4 hours in the water per day. People who know what they’re trying to catch, and have good knowledge about the areas they go, often have the nets in the water only long enough to get what they’re after.

      They don’t just drop and go.

      If bag limits are respected, and the nets used responsibly, the method is sustainable.

      What does more damage to our reef are environmental impacts from things like fresh water diversion, channelizing streams and people letting contaminants and silt wash down into storm drains.

    • This is your response? Almost sounds like you are ok with this dumb act. Nice response Dean.

      • C’mon, Wahine.May, Dean is responding to Roy’s comment that lay nets are killing the reef. He’s not defending this theft.

    • I am sad that is the first thing you mistakenly focused on. This man was raised in a pono fashion. That is why he inherited those precious nets. Who knows how many families were fed by those nets. This kind of attitude is not helpful or pono in any way.

    • Real fishermen know how to use them without damaging the reef!!!! And you have some consideration for Mr. Lemn

    • this old man has a heart of gold, very humble and full of respect. these are not lay nets these are surround nets so im pretty sure this man and his art of fishing is not killing the reef. i hope this man gets his nets back.

    • It’s the ignorance, direspect, and lack of care that destroys n ruin. A man who fishes to feed and support his family with fishing nets passed down from generation to generation created from the hands of their ohana and continued by their own, to have his nets stolen by stupid ignorant probably chronic people is like stealing apart of this man’s life!! I hope these donkeys are caught n punished!!

  3. Tip:
    Keep checking Craigslist.
    Keep checking Craigslist.
    Keep checking Craigslist. Keep …………..

  4. Hope the word gets out to more news agencies & local ports of call (Heeia, Keehi, ?). Ian, if you haven’t already, how about lending a hand by contacting your buddies @ SAd, KHON, & CB? Surely the historic implications would merit a story on this sad situation. Seems to me that KHON runs this type of story fairly often. It helps to have a video interview so people will be moved to act if they know something.

    At any rate, good luck to Ward- hope he gets his nets back.

  5. Thank you Ian for sharing this, and for photographing your neighbor so beautifully. I hope those photos and the modern network (!) catch the person who did this and bring Ward’s nets back to him.

  6. I wonder if Makai Magazine might put it on their blog?

  7. …checking Craigslist. I hope the thieves are caught soon.

    • Good. We also should keep checking. Stolen items can be useless and worthless to crooks unless crooks can cash them in, and quickly. Especially when a stolen item only would have value to the crook if used out in public (motorcycle, car, etc.)

      To help this gentleman, the next stop is any Pawn Shop in the Windward area.

  8. To take from a man is one thing but to take his bread & butter…his livelihood?! COME ON!!!!!!!!!
    It’s gonna be hard to hide nets like that and I hope for their return!

  9. There is a boy selling it on the windward side.

  10. This is heartbreaking. Ward is my ex-father-in-law. I’ve sat there with him and his son patching those very nets. Those nets were their every day life. To say karma will come to those who did this is just not enough. My heart is breaking for him. I can feel his pain! I hope whoever did this finds it in their heart to return everything!!

  11. First and foremost, to take from one of the most humble, compassionate, loving, true to the heart, giving people . A man of the old school, true Hawaiian ways and customs is a deep shame. He would give his all to help another soul. Those nets are not of just material value but of sentimental, family ties to those who have passed on. it has been a way of survival to provide for his family that he has passed on to his keiki and mo’opuna. PLEASE RETURN. IT IN WHOLE. God ‘s will be done… praying for the return of my Uncle Lemn’s property.

  12. Ward has been fishing for as long as I’ve known him. He does his walk along the beach, looking for fish. It is so sad that someone will come into your yard and have the balls to steal like that. May that person never ever catch a fish. We will get the word out to watch for those nets Lem. Joey will ask around.

  13. I hate heartless cowards who steal!!!! You should check these thieves who recently stole nets and stole from a house during the recent tsunami warning.

  14. They know who stole the nets but the boys are denying everything. These boys have been known for stealing and are the same boys who stole nets from Kahaluu and Waiahole. We are not giving up.

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